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Council Tax On Live-On-Site Caravan


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#1 ferdinand

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 10:58 AM

What is the experience here?

Did people who lived on site get Council tax on their caravans?

I ask because the caravan that the people who did our conversion used can still be viewed on our Council Tax register as a crossed-out entry (now that it has gone).

Ferdinand

#2 jsharris

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 11:15 AM

I think it depends. There was another self-builder down the road from me who had a mobile home on site during his build. He had the council on at him within days of registering the address to pay Council Tax, as I did. In his case he was assessed and had to pay it, although he had to have another valuation after his build was complete. Our council employs people to drive around looking at any new build to try and charge Council Tax as soon as they can. My experience was that they even broke into my fenced and signed site in order to peer through the windows, then, because they could see a desk (used for doing site admin) they tried to get us to pay Council Tax, long before the house was complete.

They got my back up, so I dug around (with help from members here) and found that Council Tax can only be levied if a property is deemed to be a rateable hereditament, under the Rating Act of (I think) 1969 or thereabouts. The useful point I found was that any property that doesn't have a potable water supply cannot be deemed to be a rateable hereditament, under a court ruling (can't remember the date and reference, but it's on here somewhere). I've very deliberately delayed having our official (as in done by the council Environmental Protection Team) water test done so that I don't have to pay Council Tax. I've only done this because the council snooping around inside our fencing really angered me, so I'm forcing them to have a penalty for their actions.

The answer as to whether a lived in caravan on site during a build is liable for Council Tax goes back to that Rating Act and associated case law, so may be worth checking. For example, if the only source of potable water was from containers transported to the site, then I suspect it would not be a rateable hereditament and so couldn't be liable for Council Tax. Undoubtedly there are other quirks in that act and associated case law that could be similar.

#3 bitpipe

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 11:29 AM

Not sure how it works if there has never been a dwelling there before but for our knock down and rebuild, we have to pay council tax on our van, which has mains water, sewage and power.

Despite notifying the council of the demolition, they took 6 months to contact us about changing the council tax - we were not being proactive, just in case we got the new build up before they noticed :)

Anyhow, they've changed our rate to the lowest possible and are in the process of refunding us the overpayment. When we complete, they'll re-asess the new house.

#4 ProDave

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 01:50 PM

The council tax man regularly visits our site to see if the caravan is occupied. I saw him there once and told him it is not yet connected to the treatment plant (which is true) and therefore not yet habitable and I would notify them when it was habitable and we are moving in. "See you in 3 months" was his reply.

So as discussed before I will not make it habitable until we are ready to use it. I will be connecting the pipewrok to the treatment plant soon, but I will leave out the electricity connection to the treatment plant, so it still won't be habitable until we want it to be so.

#5 joe90

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 01:58 PM

I think JSH also said in a previous thread on this subject that the waste water treatment plant must be signed off before council tax can be levied, so I am going to delay that as much as possible when( if) I ever get planning permission!!.

With regard a caravan, I have one and stay in it intermittently but never full time so give my address as Bristol where I pay council tax but with the neighbour from hell next door I am sure I am going to be challenged at some time. Historically the site ( previous bungalow) had water from a well but that and the pump etc was lost in the fire so no water supply ( but they dont know I found an old water pipe I guess was used for a trough in our field so connected the caravan to that ) :)

#6 ProDave

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 02:15 PM

There's a whole list of things needed to make a properrty "habitable" and a clean drinking water supply is one as well as drainage.

You can stay in a caravan on your land without planning permission (and therefore I presume without council tax obligation) providing you don't do so for more tha 28 days in a year.

#7 joe90

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 06:02 PM

I hope nobody is counting for my site !

#8 ProDave

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 06:20 PM

View Postjoe90, on 06 April 2016 - 01:58 PM, said:

I think JSH also said in a previous thread on this subject that the waste water treatment plant must be signed off before council tax can be levied, so I am going to delay that as much as possible when( if) I ever get planning permission!!.
I'm not sure a treatment plant on it's own is "signed off". It is part of my building warrant and I won't get a completion certificate for that until the house is finished. I wish I could use that as an excuse for not paying council tax on the caravan.

I think you are thinking of a private water supply, which legally can't be used (thererfore the house is not habitable) until it has been tested and deemed to be okay.

#9 jsharris

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 06:33 PM

You're right, Dave. Even down here the only check is the usual pressure test on the foul drain pipe work that's signed off, not the treatment plant commissioning. I didn't commission our treatment plant unit several months after the building inspector had witnessed and signed off the foul drainage pipe test.

#10 joe90

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 08:54 AM

Oh, sorry, misread that somewhere. So what is the best way of delaying paying council tax till you are ready to move in ( so you can move out of your caravan?).

#11 ProDave

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 09:03 AM

If you mean the best way of continuing to pay band A council tax in the caravan as long as possible before transfering to a proper banding on the house, then make sure the souse in some way is not yet habitable, so don't connect the water, or the draniage or something simlar.

#12 joe90

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 01:06 PM

View PostProDave, on 07 April 2016 - 09:03 AM, said:

If you mean the best way of continuing to pay band A council tax in the caravan as long as possible before transfering to a proper banding on the house, then make sure the souse in some way is not yet habitable, so don't connect the water, or the draniage or something simlar.

No, I mean paying no council tax at all as I will be staying onsite some of the time ( back in a proper house in Bristol for a rest and to see swmbo :) ) and told the planners it was a site office !!!

#13 jsharris

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 01:14 PM

If your council is as devious as ours, then they will employ people to drive around after working hours and at weekends to check there's no one living there. If you keep a register in the caravan of nights you've stayed there then you can try and work to the "28 day rule in any rolling 12 month period". I know several farm airstrips that run this system, so they can use a bit of a field as an airfield for 28 days in any 12 month period without needing planning permission. All keep logs of the dates used, to counter the council checks. One very nice group of five farmers have got together and mowed 5 airstrips fairly close to each other (literally on adjacent fields) as all five are keen flyers and knew they didn't have a hope in hell of getting PP for an airfield. The 5 strips are separately owned, so between them they have pretty much a whole flying season of airstrip availability. They even have "hangars" at every strip (polytunnels, with dark green plastic, classed as temporary agricultural buildings. Great bunch, and very welcoming of visitors, as long as they follow the rules and land at the current airstrip that's in use that day..................